Trying to keep track of the current state of mobile payments via NFC on smartphones can be enough to drive you nuts. What should be a thriving development community is instead hampered by restrictions largely imposed by carriers. While they’ve hemmed and hawed about compatibility issues (and a cynical mind might just think they’re desperate to monetize the feature), we’ve seen some very slow progress towards a workable payment system with enough support to stand a fighting chance. One of the players still trying to come out on top is Visa, whose payWave system has been on our radar since last Spring. Today, Visa announced which phones will be the first to see payWave compatibility.
The initial batch of NFC-equipped smartphones to receive Visa approval consists of the Samsung Galaxy S II, LG Optimus Net NFC, BlackBerry Bold 9900, Bold 9790, Curve 9380, and Curve 9360. There are some interesting names missing from that list, like the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S, but we’re optimistic it will grow in time.
So, let’s say you have one of these supported smartphones; how do you get Visa’s app and start making wireless payments? That’s not entirely clear. Visa has said that now that these phones have been certified, it “paves the way for mobile device manufacturers, mobile operators and retailers to partner with financial institutions to offer Visa mobile payment functionality”. Sadly, that news isn’t very empowering for the end-user, and it looks like you’ll just have to wait for a company you do business with to offer to set you up with payWave.